Remembering longtime Alki resident Harry Newman, 1929-2015

June 18, 2015 at 9:18 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

Family and friends are remembering Harry Newman, who died two weeks ago at 85. Here’s the tribute his family is sharing with the community:

Harry Newman
June 18, 1929 ~ June 4, 2015

Harry, an affable, competent, hard-working family man, was born June 18, 1929. He was liked by all and loved by those closest to him.

Born in Seattle, Harry spent his youth in Lynden working in the family movie theater.

He served in Korea with the US Army as a radio operator. After returning from war he worked at Boeing where he met and married the love of his life, Joy McLean. In 1955 the newlyweds moved to Diablo, WA, where he began a 33-year career working at Seattle City Light. In 1967 the Newman Family moved back to Alki.

Harry retired at 60 and never looked back. Joy and Harry traveled extensively. They lived in Lake Tahoe on and off for 20 years and spent weeks in the summer at the family house in Chelan, where Harry built the Taj Mahal of outhouses. They traveled across the country multiple times by train, plane and automobile. But they always returned to their pink house by Alki.

Everywhere Harry went he fixed things, both for himself and others. Harry led an active life. In his 50s he climbed Mount Rainier. In his 60s he hiked the north rim to the floor of the Grand Canyon and back in one day. In his 70s he skied over 100 days in a year. He rode his bike uphill to the Y in his 80s and exercised at the Y up until a few months before his death. For the last years of his life, coffee with the guys was the high point of his week. Harry and Joy were married 59 years, she died 18 months before him, and he missed her terribly. We trust they are together again.

Harry is survived by children Carolyn Newman (Kate Giannaros), Alec Newman (Margot), Annette Newman (Bill Montague); grandchildren Maclean and Lilli Newman, Daniel and Julia Montague. Harry and Joy were great parents and excellent grandparents.

Right to the end, Harry conducted his life with great dignity. His family would like to thank those who allowed him to stay in his home: Michele Abel, Brooke, Maclean, and Group Health Hospice.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

AMNO & CO does it again! ROV team to compete internationally

June 16, 2015 at 8:28 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

It’s been three years since we first heard from AMNO & CO, the trio of West Seattleites who have literally taken on the world in a robotics specialty, the ROV – and they’re doing it again this year. The theme is one with particular local resonance this year – read on for their report on what they’re doing (they provided the photos, too):

In May, AMNO & CO ROV team won first place in the Pacific Northwest Regional MATE ROV competition, qualifying for the international event in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. (Check out the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) competition at For the three team members – Alex Miller, Clara Orndorff, and Nicholas Orndorff – this will be their fourth consecutive year at the international competition, and as always, the team with the fewest team members.

ROVs are extremely valuable at accomplishing tasks in environments which would be too deep or risky for human divers. This year’s tasks revolve around deploying, salvaging, and servicing equipment related to the oil industry in the Arctic. Teams have to design and build a vehicle to replace components in oil wellheads, turn valves in oil pipelines, and measure icebergs. In doing these tasks, AMNO & CO will be competing against the winning teams of regional competitions in the USA, Canada, Egypt, China, Hong Kong, Scotland, Russia and several others. While MATE’s tasks revolve around oil in the Arctic, communication is also emphasized in the competition, so teams have to write a technical report, create a poster, and give an engineering presentation.

In Newfoundland, AMNO & CO will compete in a state-of-the-art marine facility, which has three unique research test tanks, including a tank with waves, another with currents, and a third covered in ice. These tanks accurately simulate the conditions in real Arctic environments, while providing teams the opportunity to test their vehicles in unusual conditions.

In addition to competing and fundraising for the MATE competition, AMNO & CO seeks to instill their passion for engineering in others. For instance, they gave a special presentation in the Seattle Aquarium’s Window on Washington Waters tank for the public in November. Also, team member Alex Miller will be leading a robotics summer camp in West Seattle this June, fostering an appreciation for the unique fusion of mechanical systems, electrical systems, and software which robotics encompasses.

The international competition will be in St. John’s, Newfoundland, June 25-28. For more information about AMNO & CO, please visit or contact them at

Congratulations! Post 160 and Unit 160 sponsor students for summer leadership programs

June 15, 2015 at 8:25 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

Thanks to Kyle Geraghty from American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle for the report and photo:

Three area students, sponsored by West Seattle’s American Legion Post 160 and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 160, will be attending the Evergreen Boys State and Girls State summer leadership programs.

The students sponsored by Post 160 for Boys State are:

Jess Juanich, Garfield High School
Ryan Okabayashi, Seattle Lutheran

The student sponsored by Unit 160 for Girls State:
Macey Crooks, Seattle Lutheran

They’re in the photo (as listed, L-R) with Post 160 Commander Keith Hughes and Auxiliary Unit 160 president Andrea Geraghty.

Evergreen Boys State & Girls State aim to simulate and emulate Washington State government through a fun and engaging week long summer program. The students will have an opportunity to construct local, county, and state governments.

Activities include running for office, court proceedings, creating and enforcing laws, celebrations, and recreational programs. Students will hone public speaking skills, experience how government works, get inspired by guest speakers, have fun and make new friends for life.
Up to four college credits may be earned by this program, as well as opportunities for college scholarships.

American Legion Post 160 and Auxiliary Unit 160 of West Seattle encourages all upcoming high-school juniors who attend public, private or home school to apply for Boys/Girls State next year. Post/Unit 160 would be honored to sponsor a full West Seattle team next year.

VIDEO: Tributes and a toast as Senior Center of West Seattle celebrates longtime leader Karen Sisson

June 11, 2015 at 4:08 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

(WSB photos/video)
Lots of laughter Wednesday night at the Senior Center of West Seattle sendoff for now-retired longtime executive director Karen Sisson – a party with a nautical theme, as she and husband Doug Sisson were vowing to spend more time on their boat.

Before they could sail into the sunset, there was an acknowledgment of a big tribute on land – naming the Senior Center’s home the Sisson Building:

The rededication was officially proclaimed by County Executive Dow Constantine, preceding a champagne toast for Sisson, fitting given that her most-mentioned accomplishment was getting the law changed to create a specific class of liquor licenses for Senior Centers, though it could be argued that the now-renamed Sisson Building represented an even-bigger achievement, owned by the Senior Center in no small part thanks to Sisson’s effort during her quarter-century there.

Even more of Sisson’s accomplishments were recounted in the mayoral proclamation read at the party, declaring Wednesday “Karen Sisson Day” in Seattle:

Sisson herself spoke about the job she felt she was “born to do” – working with seniors – more than 40 years, in Walla Walla for 18 before her quarter-century in West Seattle:

She is considered both tough and fun; her long tenure at the center ended suddenly last summer in a clash with the citywide nonprofit that staffs it, but the center brought her back for a time as a consultant, and then a few months ago, planning began for this retirement party, featuring everything from hors d’oeuvres to The Ukes:

It was planned by a committee including board member Nancy Sorensen, who emceed.

West Seattle scene: New name for Senior Center’s home – The Sisson Building

June 8, 2015 at 12:24 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

(WSB photo)
This Wednesday night, the retirement celebration for former longtime Senior Center of West Seattle executive director Karen Sisson will include a re-dedication of the Senior Center’s California/Oregon home as the Sisson Building. Thanks to Nancy Sorensen from the SCWS board for letting us know the new name is already on the building; we took the photo this morning. Later this afternoon, she says, the City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution by West Seattle-residing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen declaring Wednesday “Karen Sisson Day.” The celebration that night is open to all, 5-8 pm at the center, with County Executive Dow Constantine leading a short program at 7 pm.

Congrats! Another Emmy for West Seattle’s ‘Diver Laura’ James

June 7, 2015 at 4:53 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 9 Comments

Last night at the annual Pacific Northwest Emmy Awards ceremony, “Diver Laura” James and her colleagues on that 2014 KCTS report about the sea-star die-off won! Laura shared this photo of herself with her newest Emmy:

“Solving the Mystery of Dying Starfish” also brought Emmys to producer Katie Campbell and editor Michael Werner. The full list of this year’s regional Emmy Award recipients is here.

Congratulations! WSHS alum Nick Barnecut graduates from U.S. Coast Guard Academy

May 30, 2015 at 2:51 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

Four years ago after we published this note about then-West Seattle High School senior Nick Barnecut‘s acceptance to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, he has just graduated. Thanks to WSHS’s Shelley Yeigh for sharing the photo of Nick shaking hands with President Obama, who spoke at the academy’s 134th commencement ceremony on May 20th; the USCG says that presidents “traditionally address the graduating class at one of the federal service academies on a rotating basis. President Obama addressed the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2014 at West Point last year.” Now-Ensign Barnecut majored in civil engineering. (A gallery of USCG photos from the ceremony is on Flickr.)

PHOTOS: First-ever West Seattle Mermaid Parade – on land

May 30, 2015 at 12:25 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

FIRST REPORT, 12:25 PM: If you’re at Alki right now, watch for mermaids. The first-ever West Seattle Mermaid Parade was set to start around noon, after a gathering that started with bellydancing (in our short Instagram video above) by the Alki Statue of Liberty at 11.

Dozens of mermaids gathered in costumes from simple to ornate:

And they spanned the age range from young-at-heart to young:

The mermaids even had a wrangler:

(That’s Amber.) We had to move on before the start of the actual parade, but if you have a photo to share, please e-mail or share it to the WSB Flickr group, so we can add – thanks!

ADDED 1:14 PM: Thanks to Lynn Hall for sharing photos from the Anchor Park area, where she says the parade arrived about half an hour ago:

Pirate sighting:

Photo op:

P.S. Thanks to everybody else who sent photos this afternoon – we’re reviewing to add more tonight!

ADDED 10:17 PM: Added photos – first, from Ann Anderson, who notes so many costumes were ornately detailed:

From Loren Beringer:

From SF:

From Eva Talbot:

We’re checking with organizer Leslie Rosen to see if this is likely to become an annual tradition.

ADDED MONDAY: Leslie says no decision is likely before September, when she and the Sirens of Serpentine “re-group.” In the meantime, you can catch them at the Georgetown Art Festival, 3 pm June 13th. P.S. One more photo – thanks to Elizabeth D. for the group shot from Anchor Park:

Celebration of life Saturday for Peggy McCormack, 1930-2015

May 27, 2015 at 9:00 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

A celebration-of-life memorial service is planned this Saturday (May 30th) for Peggy McCormack, who you might have known as a preschool teacher, or a church organist – just two of the many aspects of her life, detailed by her family in this remembrance:

Margaret Anne (“Peggy”) Kemp McCormack, 84, passed away peacefully at home on April 11, 2015. Peggy was the elder of two girls born to Charles William & Irene Carrick Kemp. Her early years were spent in both Spirit Lake, ID, and in Clarkston, and her adolescence on the west coast in Washington. After college graduation, she married Clarence (“Larry”) McCormack in 1952 and spent a happy life with him in West Seattle, where he taught science at Madison Junior High School and ultimately predeceased her in 2007.

Peggy was a gifted musician. She and her sister were singing on their grandfather’s radio show in Lewiston, Idaho, by the time they were not quite two and three years old. At that age, they had no idea that they were “performing”, but soon they had mastered a number of instruments, and continued to perform throughout their school years whenever and wherever they were asked. Peggy played piano, French horn and clarinet, but usually accompanied her sister, a flautist. Both girls entered and won contests regularly throughout the Pacific Northwest. They came from a very musical family, and Peggy always shrugged and said, ‘That’s just how it was. We didn’t think anything about it.’

However, by the time she went to college, Peggy was studying the organ. She had played her first church service at the age of 8 when her mother, the regular church pianist, was too ill to get to church, and apparently Peggy had a grand time that day. By the time she graduated from college, she was playing concerts or recitals almost every week. As soon as she and Larry settled in Seattle, she began playing for a number of different churches.

Click to read the rest of Celebration of life Saturday for Peggy McCormack, 1930-2015…

West Seattle lacks an ‘inclusive’ playground, but Explorer West students’ ‘Change the World Project’ could help change that

May 26, 2015 at 10:30 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 12 Comments

(WSB photo: From left, Cyrus, Tessa, Makenzie, Ellen)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Not counting schools, West Seattle has more than a dozen public playgrounds.

None, however, is an “inclusive” playground.

Though years past playground age themselves, a group of 8th graders at Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor) is hoping their work will change that.

And they hope someone reading this – maybe you? – can and will help make it happen.

Click to read the rest of West Seattle lacks an ‘inclusive’ playground, but Explorer West students’ ‘Change the World Project’ could help change that…

Next Friday, last ‘Laps With Lou’ before Pathfinder PE teacher & Make-A-Wish hero Lou Cutler retires

May 22, 2015 at 3:39 pm | In How to help, Pigeon Point, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

It’s been one of our favorite stories to cover every year we’ve done this – but next Friday will be our last chance to report on another round of “Laps With Lou“: Pathfinder K-8 PE teacher Lou Cutler is retiring. For 12 years now, on a day close to his birthday, he has been joined by students and other members of the Pathfinder community in running one lap for each year he’s been on the planet, with pledges for Make-A-Wish, the nonprofit for which he’s spent almost 20 years volunteering. This year, Lou and friends will run 64 laps around the field. You’re invited to cheer him on, one last time, starting at 8:45 am next Friday (May 29th) on the field at Pathfinder (1901 SW Genesee on Pigeon Point). You can pledge/donate in advance, too – just go here.

Help fight hate crimes as a ‘Safe Place’: New program from SPD

May 21, 2015 at 12:47 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

Just out of the WSB inbox:

Today Mayor Murray and Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole announced SPD Safe Place, a public education and visibility campaign aimed at preventing and responding to anti-LGBT bias crimes.

“Seattle welcomes all people,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “There is no place for bigotry or harassment in our city. We developed Safe Place so that businesses and community organizations can visibly stand up against intolerance and provide shelter to victims.”

SPD Safe Place is a voluntary program that provides businesses and organizations with decals and information on how to report malicious harassment, more commonly known as hate crimes. Training for these organizations includes when and how to call 911, sheltering victims of crime until police arrive and proactive outreach about working with the SPD’s LGBT liaison officer.

“Seattle Police officers work every day with the diverse communities of Seattle to ensure safety. SPD Safe Place is another way of connecting and educating those who live, work and visit Seattle about how the SPD can assist in times of crisis,” said Chief Kathleen O’Toole.

Businesses, organizations and educational institutions can request SPD Safe Place placards or posters and learn about how to work with police to prevent and address anti-LGBT crime concerns at

New movie ‘Tomorrowland’ co-created by West Seattle native Jeff Jensen

May 20, 2015 at 7:33 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS culture/arts | 5 Comments

Planning to see the about-to-open movie “Tomorrowland“? You’ll be watching the work of a West Seattle native.

It’s co-written and executive-produced by Jeff Jensen, who grew up in West Seattle and went to Hope Lutheran School and Seattle Lutheran High School.

(Photo of Jeff Jensen, courtesy Mike Jensen)
That news is courtesy of Jeff’s proud brother Mike Jensen, who got to join his brother at the recent world premiere of “Tomorrowland” at the home of the film’s namesake, Disneyland. (The movie, starring George Clooney, is NOT about that part or any part of Disneyland, however.)

You might know Jeff Jensen already for his writing – which most recently has included what he called a “distant prequel” to the movie, “Before Tomorrowland.” He’s particularly well-known for what he’s written about the TV series “Lost.”

You will be able to watch this movie co-written by a West Seattleite without leaving West Seattle – it’ll be at The Admiral Theater starting Friday. (Jeff Jensen pointed that out on his Twitter feed.)

Congratulations! Mentoring award for Denny teacher Will Nelson

May 15, 2015 at 1:46 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle schools | 5 Comments

Congratulations to Denny International Middle School teacher Will Nelson – his colleagues are so proud of his mentoring award, we heard about it as a tweet (above) from assistant principal Patricia Rangel and in the note below from principal Jeff Clark:

Please join me in congratulating Mr. Nelson on winning the Lee McNeil Mentoring Award presented by the Marine Technology Society for his years of mentorship with our underwater robotics program. Way to go, Mr. Nelson! Go Dolphins!

Senior Center of West Seattle invites you to Karen Sisson’s retirement party on June 10

May 10, 2015 at 6:47 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

One month from today, you’re invited to join the Senior Center of West Seattle in celebrating its former longtime leader, Karen Sisson. Sent tonight by center board member Sandie Wilkinson:

We will be celebrating the retirement party for Karen Sisson after her 25 years as Executive Director of the Senior Center of West Seattle. It will be held at the Senior Center on June 10th from 5 to 8 PM and the community is welcome to come by and wish her the best. The theme of the party is Gone Boating, since she and her husband will be spending more time on their boat now that she is retired.

During the retirement party Dow Constantine will be helping us to dedicate the building housing, and owned by, the Senior Center as the Sisson Building at 7 PM.

We are also excited to announce that on June 8th the Seattle City Council will be meeting to vote on a Proclamation declaring June 10th as Karen Sisson Day; we encourage our community to join the meeting as well.

Memorial service next Friday for Margaret A. Skube, 1954-2015

May 10, 2015 at 4:00 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

Family and friends will gather Friday (May 15th) to remember Margaret Skube, who died in February at age 60. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing with the community:

Margaret Ann Skube passed away on February 27th, 2015, surrounded by her family.

She was born in West Seattle on October 10, 1954 to Galina and Noel (Cam) Skube. She attended Alki Elementary and Madison Junior High, and graduated from West Seattle High School with the class of 1972.

After working as a cook on cargo ships to Alaska with Western Pioneer for many years, she moved to Stanwood, WA, where she raised her daughter Calley.

Calley and her husband, Lane, blessed Margaret by giving her three beautiful grandchildren, Adalynn, Fionnegan, and Gillian. They were the light of her life.

Margaret will be remembered for her love of life, willingness to try just about anything, and for living her life at 100% in all she did. Margaret loved to garden, cook, swim, and to play games. She loved to travel, meet people, and to learn new things. She lived her life just the way she wanted to and always hoped for a better day. She certainly had her own sense of style, and always brought a change of clothes, since “anything could happen.” She was a fun-loving, positive, and hopeful woman.

Besides her daughter’s family, she leaves behind her dad, Cam, her niece Elle, and nephew Seth. She was preceded in death by her mother Galina and her brother Peter. She will be deeply missed by her many friends and her beloved Beaver Damn Campout girlfriends.

Her celebration of life will be Friday afternoon, May 15, 2015 from 11:00 – 2:00 at the Lakewood Seward Park Community Club, 4916 S. Angeline St.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

West Seattle Amateur Radio Club: Hobby has ‘something for everyone’

May 10, 2015 at 1:55 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

EDITOR’S NOTE: Last night, reporting on two West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs participating in a citywide preparedness drill, we mentioned amateur-radio operators’ involvement. A new member of the West Seattle Amateur Radio Club board recently offered this story about who they are, what they do, and how you can get involved; this seems like the perfect time to publish it.

(West Seattle ARC photo – board members, from left: Secretary Lance Rasmussen, K7LER; board position 2, Tom Saunders, N7OEP; vice president Curt Black, WR5J; board position 1, Kayla Ware, KG7PJW; president Ken Iverson, AB7X; board position 3, Jim Edwards, WS7JIM; not pictured, treasurer Dave Hillier, AF7CW)

By Jim Edwards
Special to West Seattle Blog

For those who remember Grandpa down in the basement with a set of headphones on, turning a big radio dial, and think that’s what Amateur Radio is, you’re not alone. But in fact, it is a wide-ranging hobby. If you want to hide in the basement, and do that … it’s still an option. But it’s so much more, that anyone can find an area of interest to explore.

When I got into Amateur radio, I did it for the purpose of expanding the communications available to the West Seattle Parade Committee. With small UHF radios, club members are able to communicate with each other through the club repeater located on a City of Seattle tower near the High Point water tanks. I quickly learned that the West Seattle Amateur Radio Club (WSARC) has one of the best-placed repeaters in the city.

The West Seattle Parade route – at one and a half miles, with a large hill in the middle and increasingly taller buildings lining the street – makes it a difficult situation for radio. Seafair Parade Marshals and the radio club that supports the Seafair Parade Marshals struggle with this growing problem each year. WSARC came to the parade committee a couple years ago with an offer to help. The radio net they set up spans the entire parade route, and helps to bring together all of this communication. I wanted to be a part of that, so I studied and got my license.

There are three levels of licensing in Amateur Radio. Each level opens up more of the radio spectrum reserved for Amateur Radio. Each level requires a greater understanding of radio operation, and the electrical know-how to not get yourself in trouble. The three levels are Technician, General, and Amateur Extra. When I took my General test, one of the youngest members of the WSARC club was also updating her license to General. At 9 years old, she managed to complete the test in half the time it took me. And her two older sisters did it even faster.

What can you do with a radio license? A huge part of the hobby is emergency preparedness. Honing those radio skills is why you go out and volunteer at events like the West Seattle Parade. But beyond that, the hobby has much more, such as:

HF radio: Talking to contacts around the world, for fun, or in contests. You can do this with voice, Morse code, or digital formats. You can bounce signals off the atmosphere, a passing satellite, communicate with the International Space Station, even bounce a signal off the moon.

UHF / VHF: Usually short-range communication, but can be extended with repeaters. With a computer connected to the radio, you can send messages and pictures digitally. With APRS you can set up a radio-based tracking system.

Echolink and IRLP: Through an application on a cell phone or computer, a licensed Amateur can broadcast on radio repeaters around the world via the internet.

Mesh networks: Licensed Amateurs can build their own WiFi computer networks that encompass entire neighborhoods.

You can participate with the Seattle Auxiliary Communication Service. You can help out with West Seattle Be Prepared in disaster preparedness. On any night of the week you can tune into radio nets across the city. You can help produce events like The West Seattle Parade, or any of the Seafair parades around the city. The list of events is endless. The level of expertise varies with the many events. The bottom line is, there is something for everyone.

To get into the hobby, you need to take a FCC test. From time to time, WSARC holds training classes to help you prepare for those tests. And they also have the certified personnel to give the tests too. The filing fee for the test is $15, and the license is good for 10 years. And no, you don’t need to learn Morse Code. The costs of the hobby vary, depending what you want to do. But you can get started with a handheld UHF/VHF radio, for under $50. Currently the FCC shows more than 330 Licensed Amateur operators in the West Seattle area alone.

Membership in the West Seattle ARC is $12 a year. We meet weekly on the air on Mondays at 6:30 PM using the club repeater, W7AW. Each month we gather for breakfast on the 3rd Sunday (this month, that’s May 17th) at 9:30 am, at Young’s Restaurant at 9413 16th Ave SW, just a half block north of Roxbury.

If you would like more information, you can send your inquiries to

West Seattle weekend scene: Seafair Pirates, ahoy!

May 9, 2015 at 8:55 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

As promised: Here’s why the Seafair Pirates turned up in the middle of our West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day coverage (9th photo). We were out photographing sales when a tip caused us to change course and set sail for Don Armeni Boat Ramp, where the Pirates were arriving for their annual photo shoot – Moby Duck and all.

It won’t be long until they’re back, this time arriving by sea – the annual Seafair Pirates Landing at Alki Beach is only seven weeks from today, on Saturday, June 27th.

You’ll also see them in the West Seattle Grand Parade on Saturday, July 18th. And you never know when and where else … keep a weather eye on the horizon (or, at least, your rear-view mirror)!

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle kids raise money to help Nepal

May 9, 2015 at 8:20 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

Lots of kindhearted people out and about on West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day, with benefit sales and post-sale donations. The generosity includes what these kids did, setting up shop along California SW in Gatewood to sell lemonade and treats to help earthquake survivors in Nepal!

They were only out for three hours this morning but they were able to raise $180 for Nepal SEEDS, according to Sandy, who shared the photos afterward, explaining that their friend Cris Miller, a West Seattleite, is on the group’s board, and that Nepal SEEDS is “in major fundraising mode to assist in earthquake relief and re-building in the villages they work in.”

Congratulations! Six local high-school students honored by the American Association of University Women

May 6, 2015 at 9:15 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

Thanks to Marilyn Mears for the photo and report:

Six senior girls, three each from West Seattle High School and Chief Sealth International High School, were honored recently by AAUW (American Association of University Women), Seattle Branch, for their achievement in the areas of Math, Science, and Technology. The girls were chosen by their schools and received certificates and a small monetary award at an evening reception at the Best Western Executive Inn on April 22. The speaker at the event was Renee Agutsama, a former high school science teacher who is currently completing her PhD in Public Health Genetics, with a focus on Genetics and Arts Education.

West Seattle High School honorees included: Abigayle Riggins (Math), Annalisa Ursino (Science), and Kristine Le (Technology).

Chief Sealth International High School honorees included: Monica Harris (Math), Gabrielle Fillis (Science), and Thy Duong (Technology).

[L-R in photo above - Ursino, Riggins, Duong, Harris; Le & Fillis, not pictured]

AAUW is a national organization which advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

VIDEO: West Seattle’s Erden Eruç en route to new rowing adventure

May 2, 2015 at 11:11 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

Next stop, Atlantic Ocean from Avenue Collection on Vimeo.

Erden Eruç, the West Seattle-residing rower who holds a world record as first solo human-powered global circumnavigator, is off on another adventure. Mark Jaroslaw put together the video above with the story of his departure – crossing the country to start his NY to Gallipoli Memorial Row, explained on Eruç’s website as “… in memory of all those who lost their lives during the Gallipoli Campaign, Erden Eruç and his team will row eastbound across the Atlantic Ocean from New York, then east on the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas to ANZAC Cove.” We last featured Eruç here in March, when he spoke at Emerald Water Anglers (WSB sponsor) in The Junction. Eruç will be “using his satellite phone to post text and visual updates across the Atlantic,” Jaroslaw reports.

VIDEO: West Seattle swimmer Wayne Kinslow’s milestone – 1,000 consecutive days of swimming off Alki

April 27, 2015 at 4:55 pm | In West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 8 Comments

Maybe you’ve seen Wayne Kinslow swimming off Alki and wondered if it was just somebody on a dare. Nope. Wayne swims off Alki every day. And we do mean, EVERY day. Today happened to be his THOUSANDTH consecutive day of swimming off Alki – that’s almost three years without missing a day, rain or shine or snow. Among those capturing the historic occasion – Clay Eals, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

During a quick post-swim interview, Wayne, who’s an Alki resident as well as Alki swimmer, received a trophy of sorts:

Here’s a closer look:

He’s still swimming tonight too, as mentioned in our daily calendar highlights, and invites you to join him in celebrating the milestone – meet up at the Alki fire rings around 6:30, group swim set for about 7 pm, then a potluck and bonfire. By the way, according to a NOAA buoy, today’s water temperature in Elliott Bay is about 51 degrees.

PHOTOS: Seattle Lutheran’s Ring of Honor tribute for Bob Dowding

April 19, 2015 at 5:40 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle schools | 2 Comments

Two months after cancer claimed the life of longtime Seattle Lutheran High School teacher and athletic director Bob Dowding, the school gave him its ultimate tribute last night – induction into the SLHS Ring of Honor. That came during a dinner event in which many memories were shared.

That’s head of school Dave Meyer, who talked about arriving in 1995 to be Hope Lutheran‘s PE teacher, and meeting Bob, joking that he wanted the SLHS AD job that Bob held. He came to realize that Bob’s real job was creating and building communities – including at athletic organizations including the Washington Interscholastic Athletics Association. And, Meyer said, he still aspires to Bob’s “real job” – mentoring and encouraging kids, and building community. One of those Bob had mentored also spoke:

Holy Names Academy athletic director Lacey London, a 2000 SLHS graduate, talked about how Bob was such a big influence in her decision to go into teaching and athletics. Her first coaching job was when he asked her to help with Lutheran’s girls-basketball team while she was transitioning between colleges. Among the many others there to pay tribute to Bob – his family, receiving the plaque honoring him:

There was even a cake in his honor:

Bob Dowding was 67 years old.

Services planned May 15th for James D. Finnie, 1946-2015

April 19, 2015 at 2:21 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

A memorial service and celebration of life are planned May 15th for James D. Finnie, 68, whose family is sharing this remembrance:

The family of Jim Finnie is sad to announce his passing on March 30, 2015, after a long journey with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Jim was born in West Seattle on April 19, 1946, to Walt and Millie Finnie, the youngest of their five children.

After graduation from West Seattle High School in 1964, Jim married Marge in 1965 while they were attending Western Washington State College, only to have the military decide they needed him a short time later. He served in the US Army from 1966-69, most of that time in Germany, where he and Marge enjoyed many adventures together.

In 1975, Jim began his career as a Seattle firefighter, and always felt fortunate to be paid to do something he loved so much. The majority of his career was served at local Station 32.

Outside of work, Jim had many interests and skills- woodworking, golf, competitive shooting, and countless hours out on the Sound, with a fishing pole in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other (his idea of heaven!). He had a top-notch “Mr Fix-It” ability that led us all to believe there was nothing he couldn’t do. To all that he did, he brought his quirky sense of humor, and a smile, to those around him.

He was a loving and supportive husband and father, which led him to spend many years working with the Boy Scouts and driving the Kennedy High School band bus to assorted parades and retreats. He was enormously proud of his children.

He leaves behind his beloved wife Marge, and children Dave (Christy) Finnie and Krista (David) Hume. Six grandchildren: Alexa, Jessica, Sienna, Elijah, Rebecca, and Joshua. Predeceased by his parents and sister, Delores, and survived by brothers Bob (Durlyn) and Walt (Sharon) and sister Linda (Norm) Nelson.

Services to be held May 15, 1:00 pm, at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, followed by a celebration of life at the West Seattle Golf Course clubhouse, 2:30 pm. Suggested memorials to Medic One or West Seattle High School Alumni Association Scholarship fund.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

West Seattle scene: Mayor’s lunchtime visit to Senior Center

April 16, 2015 at 7:49 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

Mayor Ed Murray was back in The Junction today, less than three weeks after his walking-tour/coffee-conversation stop. His stop at the Senior Center of West Seattle wasn’t an official speech/town-hall type visit, just an informal lunchtime conversation, though he took the microphone for a moment. Below, that’s center director Lyle Evans at left:

P.S. The Senior Center has a big series of classes coming up for people who might not think they are Senior Center-age yet … “Things to Know Now That You’re 50.” See the summary and sign up here.

Meet West Seattle Helpline’s new executive director Chris Langeler

April 15, 2015 at 11:41 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

He’s been on the job a few weeks, but in case you haven’t met him yet, West Seattle Helpline is officially announcing its new executive director, Chris Langeler:

West Seattle Helpline, a nonprofit social service agency offering emergency assistance for West Seattle residents, is pleased to welcome Chris Langeler as the new Executive Director. Mr. Langeler comes to West Seattle Helpline with years of experience in fundraising, social services, community development, management, and working with underserved individuals and families from diverse backgrounds.

Most recently, he managed the political campaigns for Washington State House of Representatives Speaker Frank Chopp and State Representative Brady Walkinshaw of Seattle during the 2014 election cycle. He is on the Board of Directors for the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association and volunteers at Southwest Youth and Family Services and at High Point Community Center.

Mr. Langeler earned his Master of Science in Community Research & Action at Vanderbilt University in 2013 and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington in 2015. Previously, he served as the Director of Research for the National Mobile Market, an organization dedicated to providing access to affordable, healthy food to food insecure neighborhoods nationwide. Prior to that, he worked in Portland, Oregon at the Boys and Girls Aid Society, a program to support youth transitioning out of the juvenile justice system.

“We are so excited to have Chris on board! With his solid experience and passion for our mission, Chris is going to have a huge impact on West Seattle families in need”, said Brooks Riendl, President of West Seattle Helpline’s Board of Directors.

Helpline’s next big event is the Taste of West Seattle, celebrating its 10th anniversary, coming up May 21st – ticket info is in our preview.

(Photo credit: WSB’s Patrick Sand)

Good luck! Local team in statewide Science Olympiad this Saturday

April 14, 2015 at 11:11 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

Good luck to Evergreen Science, a 15-member team of 6th-through-9th-grade-age homeschool students from West Seattle and South Seattle who are headed to a big competition this Saturday: The state-level Science Olympiad, to be held at Highline College in Des Moines. If they win, they’ll go to the National Science Olympiad, which will be held at the University of Nebraska in mid-May. Christine Ranegger e-mailed to let us know about Evergreen Science and pointed us to the official SO website for this explanation:

Science Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events in each division (Division B is middle school; Division C is high school). Each year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. By combining events from all disciplines, Science Olympiad encourages a wide cross-section of students to get involved. Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation. Through Science Olympiad, students, teachers, parents, principals and business leaders bond together and work toward a shared goal.

Teamwork is a required skill in most scientific careers today, and Science Olympiad encourages group learning by designing events that forge alliances. In Elevated Bridge, an engineering whiz and a kid from wood shop can become gold medalists. Similarly, a talented builder and a student with a good science vocabulary can excel in Write It Do It, one of Science Olympiad’s most popular events.

This is the team’s third year of competition and second year making it to state, where they placed sixth last year but are hoping to win it all this time. The parent-coached team meets every Monday morning at a home in Admiral, and its subgroups have been getting together inbetween to train in their specific events; Evergreen Science also has been crowdfunding to cover expenses. They’ll know by Saturday night if those expenses will include a trip to Nebraska – Christine promises to let us know how they do!

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